Well worth at least a couple of visits and a flight to LA. Well-conceived, although I wasn't particularly taken with some of the other artists' works incorporated into the show as having been influenced by Magritte. A fine retrospective nonetheless, featuring many works I've never seen, even in books, including those from Magritte's "ugly" period (1954-ish). Having worked in advertising design, the painterly skill of his work belies the wit, humor, and intellectual depth of his ideas.
Best bud, art compatriot, and wine connossieur Jules played museum docent and general LA activities director. Great to have an "industry" person and celeb spotter as a tour guide. She quickly pointed out Cybil Sheperd (very tall) and John Baldessari (designer of the show) among the throngs. Cybil actually tried to get into one of my pictures, though I pretended not to notice her. But I digress. I'm disappointed at not having a photo of the specially commissioned carpet, which was sky blue with clouds, like walking on a Magritte painting.
There have been at least two seminal Dada and Surrealist shows here in the Bay Area—1991 (?) at BAM and 2002 at the Legion of Honor ("Dreaming with Open Eyes"). I've had the great fortune of seeing many landmark works at the Art Institute of Chicago, Louvre, Georges Pompidou Center.
Many of Magritte's works contain an emotional and intellectual power beyond explanation. The show drained and overstimulated me at the same time. He paints dream states, altered realities, fears made flesh…the usual suspects of the surrealist palette.
Known as the Belgian gentleman painter, Magritte moved to Paris after critics panned his first solo exhibition. In Paris, he became friends with Andre Breton and began his involvement with the Surrealists. His wife Georgette was the model for many of the women in his paintings. His mother's suicide is also a recurring motif in his work.
He died of pancreatic cancer in 1967.
Pop culture homages to Magritte are plentiful, if rarely noticed or even understood.